Founding of U.S. Labor Against the War

Michael Eisenscher

Sisters & Brothers:

On Saturday, January 11 in Chicago history was made.  More than one hundred trade union leaders gathered there to found US Labor Against the War (USLAW).  These union officers, officials and activists came from organizations representing more than 2 million members.  Below you will find the final resolution adopted unanimously after a lively and thoughtful debate.  It represents the blending of elements from two resolutions submitted for consideration by organizers of the meeting and by some of those attending.  Also below are remarks I made early in the opening session, a preliminary tabulation of the affiliation and union positions of those attending, and a census of organizations which had gone on record against Bush's wars against Iraq and workers here in the U.S.  The census, prepared in advance of the meeting on the basis of resolutions available to me, greatly understates the actual extent of labor opposition, as many other organizations that had gone on record were identified in the course of the meeting, and a significant and growing number will be taking action at meetings in the coming month.  A revised analysis will be forthcoming.

A caucus of attendees from CA which met after the meeting concluded decided to schedule a Bay Area report-back on Sunday, January 26th at 10:00 a.m.  It will be held at ILWU Local 10 in SF (pending confirmation of availability). A final notice with confirmed location will be forthcoming.  At this meeting, we will decide who from CA will serve as our geographic area representative to a continuations committee.  I was designated as a "place-holder" representative until that meeting.  More details from the event will be forthcoming.

Needless to say, this development is unprecedented and portends a significant shift in the posture of the labor movement toward U.S. foreign policy in general and the Bush administration's dual war strategy (war on the world and war on workers) in particular.

Also attending from the Greater Bay/So. Bay area were representatives of the SF Labor Council, CA Nurses Association, ILWU Local 10, NALC Local 214, CUE Local 3, SEIU Local 250, No. CA Media Workers Union, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981, Monterey Bay Labor Council, AFT Local 1936, and Labor Committee for Peace & Justice.

The immediate objectives are to (a) build the largest possible labor participation in the January 18 demonstrations in DC and SF (assemble at 11:00 a.m. in SF at Drumm and Market in front of the Hyatt Hotel with union banners and colors), and (b) to get as many unions and labor bodies to adopt or endorse the founding resolution (see below). 

Yours in solidarity, 

Michael Eisenscher

Founding Resolution for USLAW


WHEREAS, over 100 trade unionists from 76 local, regional and national unions, central labor councils and other labor organizations (see details below) representing over 2 million members gathered in Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss our concerns about the Bush administration's threat of war; and

WHEREAS, union members and leaders have the responsibility to inform all working people about issues that affect their lives, jobs and families, and to be heard in the national debate on these issues; and

WHEREAS, the principal victims of any military action in Iraq will be the sons and daughters of working class families serving in the military who will be put in harm's way, and innocent Iraqi civilians who have already suffered so much; and

Whereas, we have no quarrel with the ordinary working class men, women and children of Iraq, or any other country; and

Whereas, the billions of dollars spent to stage and execute this war are being taken away from our schools, hospitals, housing and Social Security; and

Whereas, the war is a pretext for attacks on labor, civil, immigrant and human rights at home; and

Whereas, Bush's drive for war serves as a cover and distraction for the sinking economy, corporate corruption and layoffs; and

Whereas, such military action is predicted actually to increase the likelihood of retaliatory terrorist acts; and

Whereas, there is no convincing link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or the attacks on Sept. 11, and neither the Bush administration nor the UN inspections have demonstrated that Iraq poses a real threat to Americans; and

Whereas, U.S. military action against Iraq threatens the peaceful resolution of disputes among states, jeopardizing the safety and security of the entire world, including Americans; and

Whereas, labor has had an historic role in fighting for justice; therefore

We hereby establish the "U.S. Labor Against the War" (USLAW); and

Resolve that U.S. Labor Against the War stands firmly against Bush's war drive; and

Further resolve that U.S. Labor Against the War will publicize this statement, and promote union, labor and community antiwar activity.

Adopted January 11, 2003 in Chicago, IL.

Who attended the USLAW founding meeting?

Here is a preliminary tabulation based on signup sheets.  A more complete analysis will be forthcoming after registration forms are input and analyzed.


Local Unions  40
District/Regional Union Bodies  16
National Unions    5
Central Labor Bodies    3
Antiwar Committees and other Orgs  12


Executive Officers (Pres., VP. Sec-Treas, Exec. Dir.)  31
Stewards/Delegates  10
Executive Board Members    4
Business Agents    3
Members    9                                
Staff  18                                        
Political Action, Legislative, Policy Directors    7
Publication Editors, Communications Directors    2
Education Directors    2                             
Organizing Directors    1                            
Research Staff/Director    1                         
TOTAL  87                                

Census of Labor Organizations on Record Against War
(from information available prior to the meeting)

Central Labor Bodies:

Albany CLC
Duluth Central Labor Body
King County Labor Council
Monterey Bay CLC
Philadelphia Central Labor Council
Rochester CLC
Sacramento Labor Council
San Francisco Labor Council
Saratoga Labor Council
South Bay Labor Council
Troy CLC
Vancouver District Labor Council
Washington, DC CLC

State Federations:

California Federation of Labor
Hawaii State Federation
Washington State Labor Council

District/Regional Organizations:

AFSCME District 1707 Council
Bergen County Central Trades Council
CA Pipe Trades Council
California Federation of Teachers
California Faculty Association/SEIU Local 1983
California Nurses' Association
IAM District Lodge 77 Retirees
New Mexico Carpenters
New York State Nurses' Association
SEIU 1199 NE
SEIU 1199 PA
SEIU Wisconsin District
Wisconsin Federation of Teachers

National Organizations:

AFSCME International Exec. Bd.
Canadian Auto Workers
NWU/UAW Local 1981
Pride at Work
United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers

Local Organizations:

AFSCME Local 1549
AFSCME Local 1930, DC 37
AFSCME Local 215
AFSCME Local 304
AFSCME Local 3800
AFSCME Local 444
AFT Local 1474, UC-Berkeley
AFT Local 1521
AFT Local 2026
AFT Local 2190/UUP, SUNY
AFT Local 2334, Professional Staff Congress, CUNY
AFT Local 4345
AFT Local 6
AFT/West Haven Federation of Teachers
Coalition of University Employees, Local 3
CWA Local 1180CWA Local 9423
HERE Local 2
HERE Local 5
IAM Local Lodge 459
ILWU Local 10
ILWU Local 5
ILWU Local 6
Millwrights' Local 2158
NALC Branch 214
Oakland Education Association
OPEIU Local 2
Painters and Tapers Local 913
Plumbers & Fitters Local 393
RWDSU Local 108
SEIU Local 250
SEIU Local 254
SEIU Local 535
SEIU Local 660
SEIU Local 715
SEIU Local 73
Teamsters Local 705
UAW Local 2865, Univ. of CA
UAW Local 600
United Brotherhood of Carpenters/New Mexico
United Teachers of Los Angeles


Locals  42
District/Regional  13
National    5
CLC  12
State Fed    5
Committees .22
Individuals  46

Locals:         9 AFT, 7 AFSCME, 6 SEIU, 3 ILWU, 2 CWA, 2 HERE, 2 UAW, 2 Independent by affiliation
1 IAM, IBT, Plumber, UBC, Millwright, RWDSU, Painter, OPEIU, NALC

Locals:         17 CA, 6 NY, 2 MN, 2 DC, 5 unknown
by state        1 CT, WA, HI, IL, MA, MI, NM, OR, PA, NJ

CLC:            Albany, Duluth, Seattle/King Co., Monterey/Santa Cruz, Philadelphia, Rochester, Sacramento, Saratoga, San Francisco, So. Bay/San Jose, Troy, Vancouver, Washington DC

District/       4 CA, 3 NY, 2 WI
Region          1 NJ, NM, MN, PA, Northeast
by state

Committees.:    4 CA, 2 Canada, 5 NY, 2 WA, 1 unknown
by state        1 OH, US, OR, MI, MA, IL, DC

Last revised on February 02, 2003 by the Webmaster.